Grave environmental concerns as Penang ushers in 2019


A sobering message as we usher in 2019. Wishing you all the best in the coming year. See also this Aliran statement about the need to work together to achieve the vision of a new Malaysia.

This is a message from Khoo Salma Nasution, which sums up the state of Penang in 2018 going into 2019:

As we come to the end of 2018, we note that the Penang environment has gone through annus horribilis two years in a row. Two landslide tragedies took place within the space of one year, resulting in 20 precious lives lost.

A measly RM35,000 fine was imposed for 11 lives lost in the BSG Granito landslide. No one has yet been held accountable for the MBPP Bukit Kukus Paired Road landslide.

The floods of November 2017 were followed by a series of smaller floods, land slips and road slips this year. We are ill-prepared for another major climate event.

The draft Penang Structure Plan displayed this year (2018) is loosening hill development restrictions and showing us a vision of rapacious reclamation with an utter lack of concern for coastal environment, sustainable fisheries and Life Under Water.

The Peel Avenue land, which could have been used for public purpose, has been sold and heritage bungalows demolished. And just this week, the illegal clearing of a football-field size area of mangroves has been discovered.

A 10-km Pulau Betong to Telok Bahang road was announced recently, which will mean the destruction of large areas of mangrove.

In light of the recent tsunami tragedies in Indonesia, the present government’s continued disregard for mangrove tsunami barriers seem completely short-sighted. “Botak Hill” is still botak.

Penang’s future is fraught with man-made environmental threats. The Pan-Island Link (PIL) will severely compromise and/or destroy the two most important parks on Penang island: Sungai Ara Linear Park and Youth Park.

The trees along the entire stretch of Persiaran Kuari into Youth Park will likely be cut down for the feeder road. While we are busy planting small trees and saving some grass circles, there is no honest account of all the mature old-growth trees that will be sacrificed for the various components of the proposed Penang transport masterplan.

Penangites have seen the state’s unrealistic physical development policies that will put undue pressure on our natural environment. We have come to realise that we can no longer rely on politicians to help us with the proliferating environmental issues in the face of over-development, and the state’s lack of understanding on new strategies and new building codes needed to adapt to climate change.

Instead, we, the People of Penang, need to come together to save our state.

This year alone, petitions to save the hills of Penang, stop hill cutting for housing development, and reject damaging highways, have raised a total of almost 150,000 signatures.

They are:

Floods & Landslide: Stop Hill Cutting for Housing Development (almost 80,000 signatures)

Reject PIL/Zenith (20,000 signatures on online and hard copy)

Save Penang Hill (almost 45,000 signatures)

The proposed highways and expensive LRT would leave our future generations in debt. We want public funds to be spent on repairing our hills and preventing future flooding, so that Penangites will not become the victims of development.

We warn of the dangers of building 70km of new highway (Zenith and SRS Consortium), most of them through parks, established neighbourhoods and environmentally-sensitive areas.

Instead, we want a masterplan that will prioritise affordable public transport even if it means introducing traffic restrictions and congestion charges: moving people, not cars.

We call upon the people of Penang to wake up and demand development and transport strategies which are not destructive to our environment, and which will not fail our climate commitments or betray the Penang we leave to future generations.

Khoo Salma Nasution is a Penang Forum steering committee member.

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Cygnus Knight
Cygnus Knight
31 Dec 2018 11.30pm

Fewer cars, less need for roads.
Less pollution.

Go to the root of problem.

1 Jan 2019 2.06pm
Reply to  Cygnus Knight

ya great, let’s start from the 23k heroes that signed the petition..still driving ??

4 Jan 2019 2.28pm
Reply to  Cygnus Knight

Roads cannot give fumes, only cars!
Must cut down the ever increasing car population to save Penang!

4 Jan 2019 6.38pm
Reply to  Ramesh

RON95 cheaper by 27 sen now.
More will hit accelerators furiously for fast action with ease now, releasing more CO2 and CO fumes!

Yang 2.0
Yang 2.0
5 Jan 2019 1.03pm
Reply to  Ramesh

Penang Forum cannot know the root of problem?

Darren Lim
Darren Lim
4 Jan 2019 12.54pm

My concern is still no news on BB library in Penang.

Meantime YB Sim can take a look at the new library at Singapore VivoCity Shopping Mall (opposite Sentosa Island) to open on Jan 12, 2019:

Library@harbourfront will house a collection of 200,000 books, magazines, audio-visual materials and other content across its 3,000 sqm space on the third floor of the shopping mall next to Sentosa.

3 Jan 2019 1.14pm

Tun M’s latest blog posting is already a clear warning as to what’s coming for some Royals. Nobody is above the law.

4 Jan 2019 6.40pm
Reply to  Zenith
Cygnus Knight
Cygnus Knight
31 Dec 2018 11.57pm

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot


3 Jan 2019 1.49pm

“moving people, not cars” Moving (travel and transport) is itself a strategy in profiteering, extracting unearned income and fascism. Some smaller, more enlightened countries are returning to the old, compact form of towns. Some have even managed to preserve (and modernise) their buildings from 3 or 4 centuries ago, making them a gold mine for tourism. In the case of cities, they are devolving their central districts by having smaller branch offices/outlets spread out to provide major services and products. In comparison, Bolehland is razing every historical edifice available, including shophouses, temples and entire neighbourhoods to build excess condos, office… Read more »

Ma jiji
Ma jiji
2 Jan 2019 4.28pm

When the Federal refuses to give a damn to Penang, where to get money to do all these “pipe dreams” ? Let’s wait for another 20 years when you are gone ?

V Ramesh
V Ramesh
1 Jan 2019 11.02am

Happy New Year!

The Star is now 30sen more from today, follow KFC price hike.

3 Jan 2019 9.45am
Reply to  V Ramesh

great, now they can afford to pay minimum wages of RM1800, hopefully they will increase the price further then they will be able to pay RM2500 minimum…hurrah..

3 Jan 2019 9.12pm
Reply to  Wei

Saw a notice at a KFC outlet showing starting pay for a KFC crew is now RM1200.

4 Jan 2019 10.08am
Reply to  Norman

Yes, higher minimum wage will make us pay more for services.

9 Jan 2019 12.03pm
Reply to  William

Want higher pay? Then be prepared for price hike lah!